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  • Haeun Kwon

Report on a Seminar called Cross-Strait Relations Re-examined: Toward a New Normal?

On July 13, 2017, an APPA UN Intern, Haeun Kwon, attended the seminar, "Cross-Strait Relations Re-examined: Toward a New Normal?" The seminar took place at the CSIS Headquarters from 8:45 am to 3:30 pm. The following report is by Haeun Kwon.

<Report on a Seminar called Cross-Strait Relations Re-examined: Toward a New Normal?>

On July 13, 2017, I attended a seminar about Cross-Strait relations at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) headquarter in Washington D.C.. With the opening introduction by Michael J. Green, who is the senior vice president for Asia in CSIS, Cross-Strait relationship issues were discussed in depth through the panelists' presentations, followed by questions and comments from the floor. The panelists spoke about a triangular relationship between Taiwan, China and the US. They also talked about the rise of China based regarding its political and economic transitions. Although there was disagreement concerning the level of China’s development, the importance of Cross-Strait relations was agreed on among panelists and guests. Robert Wang, Senior Associates of CSIS summarized that China is overestimating its ability while underestimating its domestic problems.

There was a special guest during lunch; Ambassador Jim Moriarty, who currently serves as the chairman of American Institute in Taiwan, was invited as a keynote speaker. He emphasized the commitment to Taiwan and the maintenance of relationship with her. I was impressed by Szu-Chien Hsu’s speech who is the President of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. He said that we are dealing with “the issue of Cross-Strait Relation, not the Taiwan issue” because the trajectory of Taiwan will also influence the trajectory of China. He also urged the participation of international community including the US on the Cross-Strait Relation issues. He claimed that the issue is not only limited to Taiwan, but also the US is obligated to it.

His strong and controversial argument raised dispute among scholars on the floor, but I was impressed by his courage to deliver his opinion clearly on the issue from a Taiwanese perspective. Throughout the seminar, the panelists emphasized the importance of having dialogue in order to solve the Cross-Strait relations issues peacefully. I think the seminar I attended on the Cross-Strait Relations is one of the most prominent examples of the dialogues they are talking about.

I agree that everyone has responsibilities and obligations for the Cross-Strait relations issues. However, I believe that the US need to be cautious not to intervene the sovereignty of the Taiwanese and mainland Chinese government. Maybe consistent dialogues and discussions are more necessary, rather than the interventions, for solutions to be made. Finding an adequate and appropriate measure or instrument with sufficient evaluation system will most likely be the biggest challenge.

On an additional note, I was impressed by the humbleness of the scholars. I observed an old briefcase of the ambassador Jim during the seminar and after the end of the seminar, and many scholars returned to their homes on foot. Rather than arrogant people who wait to be served, they were scholars who seemed to really have interests in keeping the security of one’s country and the achievement of international peace. In addition, they were open-minded to the different opinions and discussions. When Szu-Chien Hsu criticized misperceptions of the people on the floor during the panel discussions, people accepted it rather than condemning his opinion. Moreover, when an undergraduate student from University of California, Berkeley raised a question during the discussions, panelists and the audiences took the question seriously and answered sincerely. In conclusion, the conference gave me an opportunity to understand the critical and controversial arguments of the Cross-Strait Relations that are currently discussed among the scholars, to gain in-depth knowledge on the Cross-Strait Relations, and to communicate with various experts on Asian Security issues.

APPA UN NGO Haeun Kwon (International Studies major, Yonsei University)

CSIS | Center for Strategic & International Studies

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